8 November 2006

Rwanda: Kagame Addresses Japanese Senate

Kigali — President Paul Kagame delivered a statement to the Special Parliamentary Committee on Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the House of Councillors of Japan (Upper House).

At an introductory meeting with Ms Chikage Oogi, President of the House of Councillors and the first woman to preside over the Upper House, President Kagame noted that Rwanda had a lot to learn from Japan, especially with its developmental achievements.

Oogi pointed out Japan's willingness to extend ODA to Rwanda that is meaningful and urged President Kagame to openly discuss the current situation.

In his statement to the Special Parliamentary Committee on ODA chaired by Mr Masaaki Yamazaki (LDP), President Kagame made the point that the most useful form of development assistance is that which is mainstreamed into budget support. He pointed out that Rwanda and other African countries were establishing institutional frameworks that would enable the effective administration of assistance.

President Kagame further noted that for assistance to be effective and to achieve results there was need for harmonisation between development partners in order to target and concentrate on countries that were making progress on democratisation, good governance and rule of law, focusing on the countries' chosen development priority areas with appropriate assistance. He stressed that ODA should be seen as a transitional measure, as opposed to a permanent arrangement, with the objective of building capacity to eliminate extreme poverty and creating infrastructure, knowledge and skills as well as supporting

trade and investment. He called for ownership on the part of recipients as well as appropriate monitoring to ensure sustainability.

In response to questions on the current situation in post-conflict Rwanda, President Kagame underlined the fact the country has achieved peace and stability and is registering economic growth, a foundation on which to build future prosperity if ODA is granted in the manner requested. Earlier in the day, President Kagame accompanied by Rwandan ministers and members of the private sector was given a special tour of the Panasonic centre, a popular attraction in Tokyo where the delegation learned about state of the art technology and applications for now and the future. Yesterday evening President Kagame attended a reception hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Taro Aso at Iikura House, where he addressed a gathering of members of Parliament, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organizations.

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